Will Bert and Ernie Ever Eat Zabar’s ‘Lobster’ Salad?

Bert (left) and Ernie

Oh, the sadness in Friday's New York Times. Hundreds if not thousands of Upper West Siders have been scooped, scooped! by one Doug MacCash, art critic at the Times-Picayune in balmy New Orleans. Doug, who's a charming and sensible guy, usually gets embroiled in what-price-graffiti tussles or wins team Pulitzers for rowing the newsroom skiff with his managing editor on the night Katrina visited. But this time, he was visiting New York with his family and must have hopped on the wrong subway, because he found himself on the Upper West Side -- … [Read more...]

MoMA Raises Price Again, Slits Own Throat Again

No Art

On September 1, walk-in admission for adults at New York's Museum of Modern Art goes from $20 to $25, from $12 to $14 for students. Art lovers under 16 are still free, and here's the press release. First, transparency: yours truly has done and still does freelance work for the museum. Yet I'm sure you know where I come down on this. MoMA is a business, a not-for-profit business to be sure, but still, a business should never chase customers away. Perhaps its tax-exemption should be applied on a sliding scale: the higher the price of … [Read more...]

George Lang Had an Answer

George Lang book cover

An extremely pleasant and perfectly bright acquaintance surprised me by stating with his usual attractive confidence that food is a frivolity and cooking not part of our cultural life. His spouse, whose every meal gives the lie to such silliness, just smiled.So I asked them if they knew that George Lang, best known as reinventor of New York's Café des Artistes, had just died. His life, I said with my own brand of confidence, may be worth a look, because he personified and made public the need to feed as well as be fed. How can hospitality not … [Read more...]

I Never Cooked for My Father

Littleneck clam

"I learned about cooking and flavor as a child, watching my mother prepare food in our kitchen in Virginia." Maybe I'm worried that it's too easy, or dislike the part of me that's a permanent boy, but I've become increasingly shy of drawing from the same family well to recount my early fascination with food. Recently, though, I came upon a recipe for creamed scallions by the late chef Edna Lewis taken from her kindly and expert "memory" cookbook, In Pursuit of Flavor. The line at the top of this post is that book's opener, and here's how she … [Read more...]

Newspaper Fate

metzger1

Do you want to pay for your newswith dead trees or the predation of oil? In this case, the form of payment itself makes news. The news corpus above is part of a new artwork by Gustav Metzger shown in a small basement space in New York's Lower East Side. E-flux, at 41 Essex St., is right near not one but two Orthodox Jewish ephemera shops and the Pickle Guys, where school kids line up for half-sours among barrels of brined turnips and pineapple chunks. At e-flux, "the viewer is invited to cut out articles related to the topics 'credit crunch,' … [Read more...]

Applause! Applause?

Normally, my single question to you at the end of this post would be posed via Twitter or Facebook. But so many smart classical-music mavens are my Artsjournal neighbors that I thought I might borrow some of your tidewrack readers for just one time.Recently I saw and heard the Met's production of Richard Strauss's Capriccio, starring Renée Fleming, at a fairly comfortable, stadium-seating multiplex cinema in Suffolk County, Long Island, New York.The theater was almost full -- and I may have been the youngest customer. I was truly happy … [Read more...]

Getting Pickled: My Brine Cocktail Comeuppance

I was taken aback by my failure to find a worthy pickle cocktail. I love pickles to an extent that should embarrass me. I could eat pickles every day of my life -- especially classic kosher half-sours. I can't explain that, in a Freudian or even middlebrow New Yorker way; it's just a kitchen fact, and I have no expectation that constant or even random readers would share my pickle jones. Perhaps it's genetic, like green hair or being gay. But how could you not crave tumid, crunchy, garlicky off-green pickles? Cut them up into dainty pieces if … [Read more...]

Oh, You Can’t Scare Me …

                                             Photo courtesy of New York University's Grey Gallery    Would it shock you to read that "only" 146 people died in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire? It's not a lot, really, but poets and peasants long ago figured out that death can't be measured by numbers. "A thousand" tsunami-drowned bodies wash up on Japan's shore. "Hundreds of thousands" died in Haiti's quake; global disease and starvation kill cool, statistical "millions." Yet every mourner knows that one loss close to home … [Read more...]

Condiment Time-Travel

Who Invented Crab Louis? It's almost pink, not a pretty-in-pink pink but a sickly, Pepto pink. Neither liquid nor solid, it crawls from server to plate like lava, lava with chunks. I know what those chunks are, because I chopped and diced green pepper, green onion, and green olive to create them. Sure, I licked that spoon. But in the time it took for my palate to awaken, before I could compute the flavor and register my pleasure and approval -- the taste was right, in the certain way that a blend of wrong things can be right -- I … [Read more...]